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Top Star Attractions In Puerto Rico – Caguana Ceremonial Park

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The Taíno Indians lived throughout the Island when the first Spaniards arrived more than 500 years ago. The Taíno, who inhabited many Islands in the Caribbean, shared the ceremonial ballgame with their Mesoamerican cousins to the west.

The Taíno’s religious life centered around the sacred ballgame, which was played on a batey or ball court. In one form or another, the batey was widespread throughout the American continent in pre-Colombian times.

The most important Taíno ceremonial center is located in the mysterious Caguana grounds near Utuado, in the center of the Island. More than 30 courts or bateyes grace the most important sacred grounds in the Taíno culture of the West Indies.

The Institute of Puerto Rican Culture has restored many of the “bateyes” in the ceremonial center, which consists of a large main court, ten smaller rectangular courts, as well as a circular one. The center also contains monoliths and petroglyphs carved by anonymous hands in some cases over more than a thousand years ago.

Top Star Attractions In Puerto Rico   Caguana Ceremonial Park

Top Star Attractions In Puerto Rico   Caguana Ceremonial Park

The curious traveler will also find Indian artifacts, archaeological exhibits and a botanical garden that recreates the plants Taínos harvested for food, such as sweet potatoes, cassava, corn and yautía, as well as the trees that were used for building materials, like mahogany, ceiba, tabonuco and ausubo hardwoods.

The two-hour drive west of San Juan passes through Karst country and weaves in and out of the many mountains that surround the ceremonial center. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 9 am to 4:30 pm and admission is free.

How to Get There

From San Juan take Road 26 until you reach the tunnel, which connects you to Highway 22. Take Road 22 towards Arecibo. In Arecibo, take Road 10 to Utuado and turn right on Road 11 to Km 12.3.